Sheffield Council has £125m in ‘surplus’ assets - report reveals

Don Valley Stadium being demolished in Sheffield
Don Valley Stadium being demolished in Sheffield

Sheffield Council has the second highest amount of ‘surplus assets’ in the country, according to a Government report.

Land held by the council pending sale or redevelopment, including the site of the former Don Valley Stadium and the proposed new retail quarter in the city centre, totals £125m.

Only Manchester has a higher rate of surplus assets, at £166m, while Doncaster is also in the top ten with £70m.

The report was released by the Department for Local Government and Communities this week - as council chiefs gave initial approval to £63m of cuts and a council tax rise for residents.

Communities’ Secretary Eric Pickles said: “Councils could be making better use of assets to keep taxes down and protect frontline services, while doing more to stop the billions they are losing to fraud and collecting more council tax arrears.”

The council said it was not able to use sales of surplus assets for services, and used the cash for projects with no Government money or as match grant funding.

Eugene Walker, interim executive director of resources, said: “We are not sitting on assets which could be sold to help fund or protect vital council services, or increase the amount we have to spend on them.

“Legal requirements mean we’re not able to use the money from sales to deliver services.

“Instead it must be used to help pay for new or improved assets and developments, such as the multi-million pound leisure facilities planned at Graves Park and High Green.

“Assets we have acquired will help us carry projects which are essential for the city’s economic growth. I

“In the last six years we have raised around £40m from the sale of surplus assets and have plans to raise a further £40m in the next three years.”

The report showed Sheffield was in the top ten councils for uncollected council tax, saying it had £39.6m outstanding, although that figure has since dropped to £31m. It listed over 100 councils which have frozen council tax for another year.

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